Review Blog

Jun 20 2012

The Ruffs by Christina Miesen

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Aussie bites. Penguin, 2012 ISBN 9780 14 330672 6.
(Ages 7+) Bushrangers. The Ruff family of bushrangers are a weird lot, each has a particular skill known only to them, but mightily useful when fighting off the troopers in the gold fields of Victoria.
Slingshot Daddy is not only accurate with his sling, but he uses kangaroo pellets with considerable ease; Tough-Spittin' Granny has a superbly accurate spit;Breathless Bertha smokes cigars, lots of them and so is always able to make a thick fog very quickly while Baby-Face Tom, at two years old is the cutest baby ever seen and could turn the troopers to mush with one look. They are all on the wanted posters, known for their daring, but one son, Jimmy is called Jimmy Good-for-Nothing, because he is, well, good for nothing. He has no useful skills, but when the troopers steal the gold nugget from Mad Dog Varmit, forcing the family to take drastic action without success, it is Jimmy's skills at listening and telling stories that save the day.
A neatly resolved laugh out loud story of bushrangers in Australia's gold rush era, students who read this will be amused and enlightened, although the use of the word 'sherriff' annoyed me.
Miesen's light touch will enthrall readers of this excellent series, and her illustrations will add another level of humour.
Fran Knight

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